Draft Disability Assistance for Older People (Scotland) Regulations 2024: Draft Island Communities Impact Assessment

A draft Island Communities Impact Assessment (ICIA) considering the draft Disability Assistance for Older People (Scotland) Regulations 2024 in relation to their impacts on people living in the Islands under Section 8 of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018.

Cost of Living

56. The cost of many amenities and activities are higher for people living in island communities than those living on the mainland. A lack of choice and accessibility means that shopping, mobile phone services and broadband can be more expensive for people living in island communities compared to those on the mainland. The greater distances and remoteness means that day to day travel, postage, fuel, day-trips and holidays are also more expensive for people in remote communities.

57. Citizens Advice Scotland have identified issues of grid, utilities, digital and travel as key barriers for people in accessible rural, remote rural and remote small towns.[20] Furthermore, a typical food basket can cost as much as 50% more on island communities in Scotland, while transport can be up to £40 a week more expensive due to longer distances for commuting and a higher price for petrol.[21]

58. According to Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), household budgets in remote rural Scotland in 2013 were typically 10-40% higher than elsewhere in the United Kingdom.[22] Although this had reduced slightly in 2016 and has a more modest impact on older people, HIE attributes these extra costs to three principle sources:

  • The higher prices that households were required to pay for food, clothes and household goods;
  • Considerably higher household fuel bills, influenced by climate and fuel sources;
  • The longer distances that people have to routinely travel, particularly to work.

59. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported that levels of poverty among disabled people are generally underestimated.[23] Because disabled people’s needs are often greater than for those without a disability, the cost of living for disabled people is frequently higher. These costs are higher in island and remote communities due to an environment that is less accessible, with higher costs for reasonable adjustments to technology, housing and transport.

60. A range of work is being undertaken by the Scottish Government to address the challenges that people in island and rural communities face. For example, the Islands Strategic Group was established in August 2016.[24] The group considers strategic issues affecting the island communities of Scotland, and to ensure greater involvement of the relevant councils in helping to identify and design solutions to the unique needs and challenges these communities face.

61. The Scottish Government recognises that both being disabled and living in a remote rural area makes it more expensive to meet material needs and participate in society. While Pension Age Disability Payment is not intended to be an income-replacement benefit, it is intended to provide support with helping to meet the extra costs of care associated with having a disability. For some disabled people, entitlement to Pension Age Disability Payment may bring additional entitlement to other benefits and premiums.


Email: Joseph.Scullion@gov.scot

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